I still remember my year as a Freshman in college like it was yesterday. One day, I was sitting in my Calculus I class and asked the guy next to me what he was doing to study. He told me, “I just look at an example problem and watch what kind of method they use to solve it. Then, I just memorize how they solved it and once it comes to test time I can use the same method to solve a different problem.” This is a terrible study plan, and that guy ended up becoming a Business major the semester afterward.
Engineering isn’t like other subjects. You can’t just fudge your way into an engineering degree. Even if you could… Would you really want some engineer out there building bridges that they ‘think’ will stand the test of time, or an engineer who knows exactly how to build a successful bridge? If I were an employer, I would definitely pick the latter. This guide is to show you effective ways on how to study as an engineering major.
The syllabus is a good way to find out how to pass a class. Look at how the class is graded, does more than 50% of your grade rely upon tests? Well, looks like you need to find out what kind of tests that professor gives then. Is the class graded mostly on a project or lab? Then find out what you should be putting in those lab reports or project that will get you a high grade. The syllabus is the key to knowing what the class is all about.
I have always been amazed by the students that would receive the class syllabus and only read it once, then proceed to shove it into the depths of their backpack to never be seen again. Passing your classes and learning your subject matter should be the only thing on your mind when it comes to college.
Study concepts, not methodology. Learn WHY something works, not just THE WAY TO DO something. Engineering is all about learning WHY something does what it does. Figure that out first, then how to do it should come during the second phase. The reason that a lot of Freshman engineering students don’t become Sophomore engineering students is because they fail to study the correct way and get lazy with school. Any discipline of engineering is going to be a tough journey, but it doesn’t have to be too bad. After you learn how to study as an engineering major, the rest comes easily. Just remember to learn how something works, not only how to do something.
I used to read straight from the assigned book for hours and just end up boring myself to death. If you can read straight from a book for hours on end, more power to you. However, to learn basic engineering concepts in a slightly less painful way, I recommend YouTube. There are thousands (probably a couple million now) of videos on YouTube. Luckily for you, there are plenty of lectures, tutorial videos, and explanations that can help you out with school. Another great place to learn by video (my preferred method) is Khan Academy.
Congratulations, you decided to become one of the hardest majors in college, right under Theoretical Quantum Physics. While different people study differently, the biggest mistake that people make with anything is not putting enough time into it. Most engineering students will pick a different major by the end of their first year in college. Hang in there, don’t be one of the many that gives up.
If you decide to become an engineering major before you start college, I have some good news for you – It doesn’t really matter where you go to school. While you may hear that a degree from MIT is supposedly worth more than a degree from a measly state school, it simply is not true. The real world is much different than what college tries to make it seem. There are plenty of great universities out there, and you certainly don’t have to go to one of the best undergraduate engineering schools in order to get the most out of your college investment. There are plenty of options to get the most bang for your buck.
Despite colleges putting posters up about how you should major in English or Philosophy, you should major in a STEM subject. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Why should you major in one of these fields? You can get a job after you graduate. While having a degree from CalTech may seem like you will get your pick of the litter when it comes to jobs, the real world doesn’t work that way. Passing College believes that you will be in a good position to find a job after college as long as you get an engineering degree from a university that is ABET certified.
ABET stands for “Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.” Basically they are the organization that regularly checks up on engineering colleges to make sure that they are teaching material that will allow for an undergraduate student to later become a professional engineer. You don’t have to go to one of the best undergraduate engineering schools to get an ABET degree. In fact, most state schools are ABET certified. Whatever you do, if you decide to major in engineering, DON’T go to a school that isn’t ABET certified. Many state jobs and government jobs require your transcripts, and if you don’t go to an ABET certified school, then your application might be overlooked. ABET certification might not be needed for other technical majors, but make sure to check first before making an investment in college.
My name is Taylor Hendrickson and I am an official college graduate.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechatronic Engineering on May 31, 2017.
I HATED my first year of college. I really wish that someone else out there had made a website to help me learn the in’s and out’s of college before I had started. Sure, there are college tips and tricks, but I never knew a lot of essentials that other students already knew. For instance – If you are considering living with a person of the opposite sex and you both are under 25 years old, DON’T do it. Living with roommates already sucks, but living with roommates of the opposing sex can become a nightmare. Another huge tip for college – Major in something that you can get a job in after you graduate. I’m not saying you HAVE to major in a STEM subject, I’m saying you are most likely an idiot if you don’t. Investing in a college degree is not only a huge time commitment, but it can also be a massive financial commitment. Make sure you are investing in a degree that will pay you back in the long run. Just because Lesbian Dance Theory may sound interesting as a major does not mean that you should major in it.
Maybe you were born with the burning desire to go to college and have the lucky fortune of having parents who prepared you for the journey. Perhaps you are already in college and are struggling looking for a way to succeed. Maybe you weren’t dealt the best cards in the beginning and need some tips on getting started. Good news, I have some pretty sweet information that will save you a lot of time and trouble in college. Make sure to check back regularly, comment your opinions and insights, and enjoy Passing College!